“A stunning route along the crest of a volcanic caldera.”
— Leslie Meerburg
Features: Lake — Views — Wildflowers
This trail would be a great candidate for running, but note the loose gravel as you descend toward the town of Sete Cidades.
The trail is relatively easy to navigate and very well-marked (there are red and yellow paint lines - if they are parallel, this is the track you stay on; areas where you are not to go are marked with crossed lines). The trail is wide enough for a jeep/vehicle, and you do need to keep an eye out, because some jeep tours follow the trail.
The first part of the trail features an ascent of about 150m, and then the next 9km or so are relatively flat (rolling hills, but not very big ones) and you have a stunning view, with the beautiful lakes on one side and the ocean on the other.
The trail ends with a steep descent on loose gravel (it's for this reason that I labeled the trail intermediate; most of it is easy, but the last descent is a bit sketchy and could definitely cause you to turn an ankle) in the town of Sete Cidades. You continue into the town, and you can find that fabulous local bar/restaurant, where you enjoy a well-deserved cerveja and can call for a ride to pick you up.
As the route is a one-way, I recommend using a taxi or shuttle service, otherwise you'll need to do double the trek to get back to your vehicle.
This was one of my favourite outings in the Azores - the only real note is that for the first part, our trip was completely enshrouded in fog, which never really lifted from the highest point; we were happy that once we started to descend a little bit, we found ourselves underneath the clouds, and were able to enjoy the fabulous views.